CNBC ends Shepard Smith’s nightly newscast after two years

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NEW YORK (AP) — CNBC is canceling Shepard Smith’s nightly newscast after two years, with its new president saying he wants to focus on the network’s core strength in business news.

Smith, who is leaving the network, will have his final TV show later this month. He made no immediate comment.

Smith landed at CNBC after abruptly leaving Fox News Channel in 2019establishing a general interest news program that airs at 7 p.m. Eastern time on weeknights.

CNBC said Smith’s show attracts the wealthiest audience of any evening program on cable news — usually a huge selling point. But there were clearly not enough viewers.

His show averaged 222,000 viewers this year, down slightly from 2021, the Nielsen company said. In the last three months of 2020, “The News with Shepard Smith” drew 280,000 viewers.

In contrast, Fox News’ Jesse Watters had 3.4 million viewers in the same timeslot on Tuesday and MSNBC’s Joy Reid had 1.3 million, Nielsen said.

Smith was lured to CNBC by former general manager Mark Hoffman. But Hoffman was replaced in September by KC Sullivan, who announced Smith’s departure in a memo to staff Thursday.

“I think we need to prioritize and focus on our core strengths in business information and personal finance,” Sullivan wrote.

He said a business news show would be launched during the same period early next year, but gave no further details.

The CNBC chief said that “at a time when misinformation and misinformation are rife, ‘The News’ has succeeded in providing the public with the clearest understanding of the facts”.

Smith worked at Fox from its inception in 1996 until 2019, resigning after a run-in with up-and-coming Fox opinion host Tucker Carlson. For several years he had anchored a 7 p.m. show on Fox, but it was moved to the afternoon.

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